Video doorbell innovations are hot and fast. Each new product touts a “better” way to keep an eye on that precious piece of property — your porch. With everything from dog food to diapers, smartphones to sushi being dropped on our doorstep, keeping an eye on that precious cargo is a top priority (seriously, if someone messes with my sushi…).
With its latest battery powered video doorbell, the Eufy Dual ($250 with a HomeBase 2 or $199 as an addition to an existing Eufy camera system), Eufy has come up with one of the best solutions yet.
The Dual has two cameras, one to keep an eye on the floor – where packages often end up, and one in the more traditional role at the top. This solves the problem most doorbells have: they either give you a long, thin view so you can see packages and people, but not much context outside of it. Or you get a broader picture that provides more side-by-side context, but misses much of the threshold itself (and the package in there).
The Dual isn’t the first doorbell to try this trick, but it’s the best I’ve tested. The downward-facing 1080p camera has a 120-degree field of view with a 16:9 aspect ratio, while the 2K camera on top can see up to 160 degrees with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Combined, you get two video feeds that give you a blind spot-free view of your porch. It also has dual motion detection, using passive infrared to detect people and radar for distance and angle. In addition, onboard machine learning can tell you if a person and/or package is there and deploy some innovative tricks to keep an eye on your future assets.
And the best part? There are no mandatory recurring charges. You get free local video storage on the included HomeBase 2 (16GB offers up to 90 days of clips), free smart alerts, and the AI features are free too. There’s a cloud storage option, if you’d like (starting at $3 a month), but you won’t lose any other features if you choose not to pay, unlike almost every other video doorbell.
But (and there had to be a but) because it’s a battery powered doorbell, there’s a blind spot as the camera wakes up. During testing, the camera only caught people as they approached the porch. This is fine for a visitor, but less useful for a parcel delivery person or someone with nefarious intentions like they are fast, the camera only catches them walking away. This “back of mind” problem plagues many battery powered buzzers. Eufy says adjusting the sensing distance (up to 20 feet) can help, but even at the furthest setting, I still missed the start of most events.
The Dual’s minimal 4x digital zoom won’t help you track down that license plate either, and the 2K video is a bit dull and muddy. The doorbell camera only works on 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and you need to connect the Eufy HomeBase to a router.
The Eufy Dual is a battery powered doorbell without a pre-roll feature and, as the video illustrates, can miss the start of a motion event while “waking up”.
I was also disappointed with some of the AI features – the facial recognition didn’t work for me at all (apparently because I wear glasses). The Package Guard and Loitering features — where the doorbell can say things like “Excuse me, can I help you” when someone approaches your package or lingers too long at your porch — were annoying rather than helpful. I loved the option to trigger smart responses from the live view screen in the Eufy app – you can choose from default messages like “Please leave it at the door” or create your own.
I also liked the Package Live Check Assistance, which puts all packages in a blue box and collects recent events around the delivery for a quick review. It worked reliably and proved to be a valuable feature for managing deliveries. The uncollected parcel warning is also useful, whereby the doorbell checks for parcels at a specific time if you have forgotten to pick up something.
However, these are nice, not-must-have features for a doorbell. More important are video and audio quality, speed of notifications and access to live view, and accurate motion detection (so you don’t get bombarded with notifications).
The Eufy Dual does well in most of these areas. The time from tapping the notification to viewing a live feed was between 3 and 5 seconds in my testing, impressive for a battery powered doorbell, and probably because of the local storage and video processing. I didn’t get a single false person report during testing. But he mistook my porch chair for a package, and he struggled to recognize smaller packages, like those in flat envelopes.
The view from the front door was excellent. Although the black bar between the two camera feeds took some getting used to, the stacked camera image gave a better overall picture than the other option – picture-in-picture. I could see my entire porch, as well as a clear view of the entrance to my front door and the road beyond.
The sound is very good; it uses full duplex meaning I can chat with a visitor easily without lag or stepping over each other. However, the video quality isn’t as good as I’d hoped from a 2K camera – a little dark and a little blurry. In contrast, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 offers more vibrant and colorful video.
The night vision was very good – crisp and clear – making it easy to decipher faces. The bottom camera does not use infrared night vision; instead, two small LED lights illuminate upon movement. I liked this feature because it throws some light onto the porch at night without dazzling visitors.
There are many customization options for video, including adjusting the recording time (8 seconds to 120 seconds, the camera does not record 24/7) and the re-trigger time (how soon the recording starts again after a motion event – 2 seconds is the minimum ) – all of which affect battery life. You can also customize motion detection and sensitivity, and choose to be alerted to people only or to all motions (there are no animal or vehicle options). Each camera can have one activity zone to alert you only to events in that area. Notifications are customizable, with the option of a thumbnail snapshot with the notification – but in testing that only came through about two times out of 10.
Overall, there are many settings to tinker with in the feature-packed Eufy app. However, some of them take a bit of digging to find, and the app suffers from some bad grammar and awkward English translations. There’s also no timeline view to quickly scroll through when viewing the camera feed; you have to click on a separate tab to see event videos. Conveniently, Eufy does have a web portal for accessing video.
Since it is a battery powered doorbell, installation is easy. After pairing it with the app and Eufy HomeBase, you can attach the mounting bracket (straight or angled) anywhere. However, there is the option to plug it into your existing doorbell wiring, eliminating the need for charging (to charge the battery the entire doorbell has to be removed) and adding the option to activate your existing doorbell. Usually I’d recommend getting a real wired doorbell if you have cables, but Eufy’s unique video options are good enough for me to drop that advice here if the features appeal to you.
However, this doorbell is huge, at 6.5 inches tall, significantly taller than the giant Wyze Video Doorbell Pro I recently reviewed. But Eufy has put a lot of thought into the design, and the beveled edges and rose gold camera lenses with rings make this feel less colossal. But there’s no escaping how big this is, and if you want something more discreet and have doorbell wiring, there are better options (the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is our top pick right now).
That size can accommodate a large battery that Eufy says will last 3 to 6 months. Based on my experience with Eufy cameras, this will hold up. During testing, it lost less than 5 percent in the four days I had it on battery, with some heavy use.
The Eufy has several options for a gong: the HomeBase itself can act as a gong, use an existing gong when you wire up the Eufy, and/or pair it with Amazon’s Echo speakers to announce when someone is at the door. The Eufy itself also makes a noise when pressed. Integrating with Amazon Alexa allows you to use motion or a doorbell push as a trigger for a routine (I set one up that turned a light bulb red when someone was at the door, and it worked reliably). It works with Google Home and Alexa smart displays to get a live feed from your doorbell on demand, though it was slow and unreliable with the Echo Shows during testing, but worked fine with Google Nest Hub displays.
In the field of battery-operated doorbells, the Eufy is a strong competitor. The direct competition based on price and features is the Ring Video Doorbell 4, which doesn’t give you a great view of your porch but doesn’t require a separate hub. The Ring also has a pre-roll feature that uses a second camera to capture more of your visitors as they approach, plus a removable battery. But Eufy’s battery life is better. During testing, I had to charge the Ring once a month. While the Eufy is $50 more expensive, there are no monthly fees. You pay $3 per month to view recorded footage with Ring.
For something a little cheaper with a full view of your porch and free video recording, the Wyze Video Doorbell Pro costs $90 and includes free video storage; Plus, when wired it has 3 to 6 seconds of pre-roll, but there’s a monthly fee for smart alerts and restrictions on those free-recorded clips.
Overall, the Eufy Dual solves a specific problem and does a good job. A few of the AI features need some work, but the main ones – like packet detection – are impressive. My biggest complaint is that there is no solution to the ‘occiput problem’. With that fixed, this video buzzer would be hard to beat.
Photos by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge
Update February 18, 4:20 PM: Added more details about Eufy’s data management practices and local video storage and processing.